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tv   Crossfire  CNN  January 31, 2014 3:30pm-4:01pm PST

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welcome back. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we've been following the developments about chris christie, making serious allegations in a letter his
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attorneys wrote, chris christie denying any knowledge whatsoever. a newspaper just published said among other things that david wildstein who resigned from the port authority, the new jersey times ledger saying this, star ledger, i should say, wildstein claims there is documentary proof that the governor has been lying. if this proves to be true, then the governor must resign or be impeached because it will show that everything he said at his famous two-hour press conference was a lie. bureau chief is here. what do you think of all this? >> if you're in the middle of the scandal and you can't answer the question in two or three word, i didn't do it, no, you get into these long explanations where you're giving dates and times, you're in trouble. if you look at past scandals of anthony weiner and others they have these drawn-out processes where they give detailed answers and they have to come back and give a whole other set of answers. this is at least politically
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problematic for him. whether he's done anything wrong, is beside the point. >> no smoking gun by any means but politically you think he's in trouble? >> yeah, it's really creating this picture that a lot of people have always had about new jersey which is politicians that it's a little bit dirty and they sort of do these kinds of things to each other. it's starting to stick to him now. even if he ends up being exonerated it might not go away from him. >> right now john wisniewski is still with us. what do you make about that? you're one of the co-chairs of this investigation in the state legislature. >> it's too early to make any final pronouncements about what this means, but what it does say are there serious concerns about the veracity of the governor's statement. that was made clear by the attorney that mr. wildstein's attorney where where he point blank said you shouldn't believe the governor. he says it based on documents that the committee hasn't seen.
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we need to see those documents to determine whether or not he's got a credible argument, that the governor wasn't telling the truth on january 8th. i mean, all told, the governor has shown a remarkable lack of curiosity about what happened, what was carried out by his staff. and that's an entirely different issue, but it certainly adds more questions to the investigation. >> let me bring another new jersey politician into this conversation. mark sokolich is the mayor of ft. lee, new jersey. ft. lee is the residents of ft. lee suffered significantly during the four days of the lane closures on the george washington bridge. what's your bottom line? >> the bottom line is we have to stop talking about a traffic study. there was never a traffic study. there wasn't one then, there wasn't one during and there certainly wasn't one after. >> somebody told him apparently, the lane closures which continued for four days and there were horrendous traffic jams was the result of a traffic study. who told him that?
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>> i couldn't even venture a guess. but as i said before, looking at the letter, during the closures, if it was monday, it's a problem, if it were thursday, it's a problem, but much bigger problem on monday. but just to go back and not repeat myself, i wish everyone would stop talking about a traffic study. there never was one. to close the busiest bridge in the world, a traffic study would last and span months and months and month, you don't have that, it doesn't exist. it really goes to the heart of credibility, quite frankly. >> dana bash is here, you've been working your sources. >> one thing i want to point out and i'll talk about that in a second. the star ledger claims that wildstein claims there's documentary proof that the governor has been lying. words matter here, and facts matter, especially when you're talking about specifics. politics aside. wildstein's lawyer does not say that christie was lying. it was very carefully written saying that he has some evidence tying christie to the fact this he knew or pushing back on the fact that christie may have
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known about it during the time. that's very different than saying that he lied. >> at one point he does say in the letter mr. wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of him. >> about him. not necessarily about what the governor knew in the traffic study. so look, i mean, the problem for chris christie is that this has become personal. just talking to somebody who is a friend of christie's who is concerned about the fact that during the press conference, he really kind of waved some red meat in front of wildstein saying the whole i was class president, ways a football star and he was a dork. you know, he didn't say that, but that was sort of the gist. anybody who has ever been at high school gets that. maybe that wasn't the best idea. because this is a guy whose back is up against the wall, his reputation, his livelihood, everything is at stake. clearly this letter, the whole point of it was to get legal fees back to pay for all of this, but it's also -- he's also somebody who has been
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antagonized. >> wrap it up for us, chris. >> to piggyback on what dane ta says, when he got that job at the port authority he was introduced as a good friend of the governor who needs a position on the executive level. they created a position for him that had broad authority so he could see everything that was happening there. and people assume that he was the eyes and ears of the governor. to then distance himself so much, to your point, i think is very interesting and would make him angry. >> we've got to wrap it up. but we've really gone through a lot. john stanton, thanks very much, chris frates, dana bash, mayor sokolich, john wisniewski, alan dershowitz. thanks to all of you as well. we'll continue our coverage of this as we get more information. we'll, of course, share it with all of you. but there's other important news we're watching here in "the situation room" including serious water wore es. new fears hundreds of thousands of people may be exposing themselves to a dangerous
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chemical. shocking allegations about what some tsa officers do about those full body scans. details of a former employee's expose. but first, chris cuomo has this "impact your world." >> this is the face of hope. faith was born hiv negative even though her mother had the virus. she's the ultimate example of the goal of the elizabeth glaser pediatric aids foundation, creating an aids-free generation. >> we have the research, we have the medication. people have to be educated around the world. we've got to get rid of the discrimination and the stigma with even getting tested. >> celebrity photographer nigel barker saw the success of the programs when he visited tanzania, even in a nomadic tribe steeped in culture and tradition and reluctant to change. >> i spoke to the women who had been trained by the foundation in the ways of how to deliver a baby safely. now if you can reach a group
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like this, you can treat children anywhere in the world. >> and the foundation seems to be doing just that. >> take for example, sub-saharan africa, 700 babies are being born every day hiv positive, but the good news is when i first got started in 2008, i was saying a thousand babies are being born every day hiv positive. a generation free is doable in our own lifetime.
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there are new concerns that hundreds of thousands of people may be exposing themselves to a potentially harmful chemical in their water. weeks after a disastrous spill in west virginia, traces of the chemical remain. officials say a study shows the levels are safe, but that study is now being questioned. cnn's athena jones is working the story for us. what's the latest? >> hi, wolf. first it was the toxic chemical mchm. then the company responsible for the spill said another chemical pph was also dumped into the water though in smaller amounts. now there's these questions about studies talking about the chemical's safety. it's enough to leave a lot of west virginia residents concerned about the quality of the water authorities are saying is safe to drink. charleston, west virginia, residents are still nervous about using the water three weeks after a chemical spill at freedom industries contaminated
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the elk river. >> i just want to know who do you trust? >> reporter: west virginia american water has rescinded the do not use order for thousands of area residents showing that test chemicals dumped into the water have dissipated. >> do i trust the water quality specialist that's been told to call me and i've been continually following up on, i spoke to him again yesterday? or do i trust you all to go ahead and let my children and, you know, bathe and stuff in the water? >> reporter: the water company, working with the west virginia bureau for public health and the u.s. arm corps of engineers say extensive testing of the toxic chemical mchm, one of the compounds released, were below the one part per million the cdc considers safe. cnn conducted its own test of the water in january with similar results. dr. raoul gupta who leads the public health department in west virginia is not taking any chances. he says he and his family won't
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drink the water. >> it's easy for folks to say we don't think that's a problem, but we can't prove that right now. >> we're seeing an unfolding disaster that's in slow motion here. >> reporter: and richard denison says the cdc is basing their conclusions on a 1990 study on lab rats that doesn't prove the water is safe. >> federal and state officials have largely been flying blind, trying to make decisions on the fly with very little information to go by. i don't think they should have lifted the do not use order. i think we are still seeing even just today reports of water in schools that is testing above that limit. >> reporter: and today the water -- last night i should say, the water company put out a statement saying that because there's simply not enough data on this chemical, mchm, that out of an abundance of caution, quote, pregnant women may want to consider alternative drinking
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water source. whether you fly or work for pleasure who hasn't wondered what tsa agents are thinking or saying about the naked images of your body created by the airport scanners. there's now a new story about what may be going on, and you won't like it. >> some people may not like this. a former tsa agent penned an article for politico. and it reads like an expose of the agency he once worked for. these allegations do nothing to help clean up the agency's public image. a former tsa officer calling out the agency he once worked for, stirring up fears and suspicions many fliers already had. jason harrington said the agency uses anti-effective anti-trifl security measures at the expense of the public's health, privacy and dig in it pep he's just getting started. saying officers would pull a
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passenger's bag or give a pat down because a flyer was rude. those body scanners that gave flyers a virtual trip search and produced graphic images harrington describes as entertainment. officers gawking at images their every fold and dimple on full, awful display. piercings of every kind was visible. the wrap a scan full body scanners couldn't distinguish classic explosives from body fat and guns were practically invisible if turned sideways. tsa says many procedures and policies referenced in the article are no longer in place or characterized inaccurately. for example, scanners that show graphic images are no longer in airports. >> for them to be saying today it's not a big deal because they've been now removed after all the years when they resisted removing those in airports i think is a little hard to take at this point.
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>> when it came to profiling, harrington says until 2010 officers had a list of 12 nations whose passengers automatically received enhanced screening. to that the tsa said, no comment. >> in a statement the tsa tells us that they don't tolerate unethical or unlawful behavior and they take quick action when it is discovered. we should note we reached out to the former tsa agent who wrote the article. no response yet. >> pretty disturbing stuff, rene. we have a lot more news coming up. on the eve of the super bowl, there's new pressure on a team that isn't even playing to change its name. we're going to tell you the latest. so what's better, bigger or smaller? [ all ] bigger! now let's say a friend invites you over and they have a really big, really fun pool. and then another friend invites you over who has a much smaller, less fun pool. which pool would you rather go to?
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washington's pro football team won't be in the super bowl again this year. there's also new pressure to make sure a team named the redskins never again plays in the big game or, indeed, any big game. cnn's brian todd is working the story for us. >> to coincide with the super bowl, native american groups have racheted up the pressure on the redskins. a powerful video shows these groups will not back down in this confrontation. it has the look of a promotional video for native american tourist spots. >> it's not until the end when their message is delivered. >> native americans call themselves many things. the one thing they don't --
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>> this powerful online video, timed to coincide with the super bowl is another way native american groups are calling attention to their fight. >> we continue to see institutions like the washington football team that have resisted that and continue to reseitz. >> the redskins are firing back through their attorney. >> there should not be a name change. it's not about race, not about disrespect, it's about loving the redskins. >> a poll this year showed four out of five americans don't think the redskins name should be changed. there was one poll which asked native americans specifically about it taken almost a decade ago. that survey showed nine out of ten native americans were not bothered by the name. >> what do you make of the polling that shows many native americans aren't offended and many others don't want that changed. >> it's a dictionary defined racial epithet. >> he's referring to the
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webster's definition of redskin which says it's usually offensive. nfl commissioner roger goodell weighed in at the super bowl. >> let me remind you, this is the name of a football team. a football team that's had that name for 80 years and has presented the name in a way that is honored native americans. >> redskins owner dan snyder, won of 32 owners who goodell works for, said recently he'll never change the name. with both sides dug in -- >> is there a realistic chance the team will ever change its name? >> i think there's a realistic chance if it affects sales, if suddenly it's no longer one of the most popular, you know, merchandise drivers for the league. it generates a tremendous amount of money for the league. if that changes, if people stop voting with their pocketbooks, yeah, then it'll change. >> now the redskins just responded to the online video by calling it, quote, a fitting tribute to the nation's native american heritage. the team respects those who
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disagree with them but they're grateful for the support. his successor in the super bowl, which do you think president obama would rather talk about, jay tapper asked him in an exclusive interview. >> i'm going to give you a choice, you have to pick one. >> yeah. >> i'll give you two. hillary versus biden or broncos versus seahawks. you have to tell me -- you have to pick one and give me the winner. >> well, i think that broncos/seahawks -- >> you're going to go with that one? >> surprisingly enough. >> i think it's going to be a lot like the seahawks/49ers game. i think it will come down to the last play and in the end of the day i'm not going to pick it because i don't want to offend any of the great cities who are participating. >> so you'll go with the hillary/biden one? no, you're going to opt out of that?
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>> i'm too smart for that. i love the state of washington and i love the state of colorado. >> you're not running for anything anymore. >> interview with the president of the united states. remember, you can always follow us going on here in "the situation room." tweet me at wolf blitzer. tweet the show @cnn. thanks very much for watching. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. next did he or didn't he? "the new york times" suggests chris christie knew more about the bridge closure than he's letting on christie's future is on the line. amanda knox won't willingly go back to italy. will she be forced to serve time? she speaks. howie man dell on growing up with obsessive compulsive disorder. my special guests tonight. let's go "out front."

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